The Fake Boys Disappoint
The Fake Boys’ 2017 release, I Love My Life When You’re Not Around, borders on punk nostalgia, embracing grunge and pop-punk while adding classic rock to the mix. Clearly, a lot of effort was put into this album, but the feeling it evokes leaves something to be desired. It leaves listeners with a dry, stale taste in their mouths and a desire for a consistent tone in their ears. Ultimately, The Fake Boys’ new album fails to propel their artistry as a band.
The 12-song tracklist certainly features instances of clarity, but these moments are often overshadowed by the band’s desire to incorporate a multitude of elements into each individual song. I Love My Life When You’re Not Around has a gritty sound that sometimes strikes as vibrant with its well-executed pop-punk breakdowns. However, the vocals heavily clash with the rest, and their raspy, gravelly tone sometimes – at random – will take on a much whinier tone.
The intro, “Newz,” is a standout instrumentally. Unfortunately, some of the album’s other songs are a little drawn out. They also tend to lack in both story and emotion; and without a story to tell through music or lyrics, songs can feel a bit soulless. This album is missing that crucial element. While the influence of bands like Bad Brains, Black Flag, Misfits and even Sleep are apparent, the album seems to fall short of the intended goal. Its first half is fast, the middle is slow and, by the end (e.g. “Brainfog”) it is especially heavy on the metal.
The third track, “This Is,” starts 45 seconds in with a long, drawn-out groan, spewing out lyrics that can’t be deciphered. The song itself doesn’t open up until about a minute and a half in. The album’s high point is definitely its second song “Red, White, and Bouge,” which seems to embody more of a grungy, ’90s alternative feel. However, still, the chorus lacks in originality, offering the basic lyrical refrain, “I got a right to be myself, and I don’t care what you think.”
Despite the lack of progressive lyrics, the simplicity of the words makes it easy for listeners to connect with the artist. The Fake Boys are still able to tap into the emotions of a fanbase that they’ve been nurturing since 2007. Furthermore, there are many different musical aspects at work here – most of them found in guitar riffs. The Fake Boys’ nod towards nostalgic punk and alternative rock also deserves an honorable mention, even if it is something that the band has always featured on their albums.
While music typically progresses to satisfy changing tastes, this album is unusually lackluster. In the end, the listener is left wondering if the album will be one to look back on later on. For now, it is best suited to be put on as background music while driving – but only for diehard fans of pop-punk. Whether I Love My Life‘s positive aspects are enough to make up for its shortcomings is up to the individual listener.